This is the Emmy screener time of the year, when Academy members get sent DVDs of shows for “our consideration”. In many cases it’s a colossal waste of money and packaging. A few years ago TILL DEATH sent out screeners. Like that had a real chance.
But many of the series are legitimate contenders. And it’s been nice catching up on highly touted new shows I had never seen like THE GOOD WIFE. Although I must be honest and say I open the envelopes and I've never heard of half of these shows.
But there seems to be some question as to what qualifies as a “comedy”. Some contend that that category should be confined to half hour series only while others feel the new breed of lighter hours have as much right to qualify as anything else.
Here’s how I stand on the subject. First of all, when a show bills itself a “dramady” that doesn’t mean it’s both a drama and a comedy, it means it’s neither.
But my criteria for qualifying for Best Comedy is simple: Is the show funny enough? Whether it’s a half-hour or hour, who gives a shit if you're laughing? There were half-hour shows like WONDER YEARS that were lovely little character studies, but they weren’t funny. Meanwhile, a show like GLEE has more laughs than most sitcoms. And is there a funnier actress on TV today than Jane Lynch?
You could also ask the question does the Best Comedy have to be scripted? What about shows like CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM or ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA that rely on some improvisation? Again, if those shows are funnier than standard scripted fare why not recognize them?
I don’t believe there needs to be rules in place. If you don’t think hour shows qualify as comedies then don’t nominate them. And if one becomes a nominee don’t vote for it. But with television looking to push the envelope and develop new forms of comedy it seems to me we need to broaden our thinking when it comes to awards too.
All that said, for my money, the best comedy of this year IS a half hour. MODERN FAMILY. Nothing else comes close whatever the damn format.